The Committees for the Defense of the Revolution Celebrate 63 years With a Deficit of ‘Cadres’
While his Ministers of Economy and Energy arranged their faces to confirm the tough savings measures in the face of the umpteenth fuel crisis in Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel was going to a party, although his face was more like it was a funeral. The photographs published in the official press about the decorations ceremony of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), which turns 63 today, show the leader happier than he appears to be on television.
He had no shortage of reasons, since, even though he had been assigned the amiable part of the day, something was being buried yesterday and it is not very clear if it was the Revolution itself, drowned in the country’s crisis, or the CDRs themselves, which are approaching retirement age more than symbolically.
Valdimir Sauri Bermúdez, national vice coordinator of the mass organization, admitted that, between 2019 and July 2023, vacancies in CDR cadres increased by 177 and warned that this data is a priority in the organization of work. Even clearer: the management workforce is only 74.1% covered.
The (remaining) members of the CDR tried hard to keep up appearances this Wednesday. From social media accounts, CDR members were called to tweet between 8 pm and 12 am – with the hashtag of the 10th Congress – during the previous evening in which activists meet to eat the ajiaco that they have renamed stew. Gerardo Hernández Nordelo himself, national coordinator of the organization – as well as a well-known former spy – encouraged the spread of photos of the celebration, and got many enthusiasts encouraged to do so, but also a shower of insults and reproaches.
The Roundtable program had just ended, where ministers Alejandro Gil Fernández and Vicente de la O Levy had recognized that “the country is in a very tight situation” and the only reason to celebrate was to keep the ranks tight.
But the CDRs will have to make a lot of efforts, judging by what has emerged from their 10th Congress. The working commission indicated that “the situation presented by the organization in terms of the stability of the cadres and their reserves at all levels is not favorable, with deficiencies in most of the country’s provinces.”
Their work, Sauri Bermúdez pointed out, is essential to “close the path to crime,” as the State newspaper Granma headlined this Thursday. Under this premise, a long series of tasks is understood to be reduced to a single one: maintaining surveillance over others. Delegates recognized that the crime rate is increasing in all areas, from home and ration store robberies, to drug sales and consumption, not to mention more serious cases of violence.
In the short term, and in addition to the usual tasks, the national coordinator of the organization assigned the CDR members duties: “ensure that families make rational use of energy, as a strategic task.”
The CDR memberscalled for “the preservation of revolutionary values” to avoid all these and other evils that afflict the country, although based on what was discussed in the conclave, there is no reason to be alarmed. Roberto Morales Ojeda, member of the Political Bureau and Secretary of Organization of the Central Committee of the Party, said in his speech that “there may be dissatisfaction, but it is also gratifying to see what has been achieved throughout the country.”
Former Minister of Public Health Morales Ojeda also praised the work of the CDR members in the worst moments of Covid-19 – “you were one of the reasons why Cuba was able to win” – and affirmed that the organization “does not stop its march.”
After the solemn speeches, the voices of the delegates revealed the opposite. The fact that around 35% of grassroots leaders are young was presented as positive, recognizing, however, that there are many who distance themselves. There were also 852 “CDR youth detachments,” with some 23,440 members, but “not all of them function, due to the lack of attention given by professional cadres and grassroots leaders.”
Hernández Nordelo reported that there are 137,803 committees and 17,384 zones, of which 3,229 have “operational problems,” 66% of which were solved during the organic process of Congress. In short, the dwindling forces have been reorganized.
“The continuity of the CDR is the continuity of the Revolution,” said Polanco Fuentes, the party’s ideological leader, also present at the event. And because of that, perhaps, is why Díaz-Canel’s face in the El Laguito Hall.